It all started in the usual way. Tracy contacted me for a portrait session. I checked and rechecked my calendar. This day was good, but maybe not, maybe this day, maybe that morning?
We wrote eachother as we fished for a date, and tracy's letters opened the door to her life. Tracy's emails are like handwritten letters, pulling you in, speaking to you, from somewhere deep in her heart.
I will say, I was a bit afraid.
The camera has two faces. It can bring you as close as you want to others, or it can give you something to hide behind. To be honest, most of the time it's been something to hide behind. So I was afraid that I would have to stop hiding and start connecting.
In her letters, Tracy let me know that she's a 9/11 survivor. After making it out of ground zero, she reached Lexington avenue and was overcome with the feeling that she had to become a mother.
in turn i told her that I had worked for the American Red Cross 9/11 recovery program. First as a social worker, and then as an assistant archivist, organizing and sifting through the ephemera. Lovely, delicate pieces of heart-breaking ephemera. "It seems like the world keeps moving around you, but there is a piece of you that stays still, in that moment in time", I wrote to her.
"I wish I had an American flag hanging for some of the photos", she said. She had also confided in me, in snippets here and there, that she was living with an illness.
So I closed my eyes and had a vivid vision of Tracy and Lexi, seated and wrapped in the American Flag. I imagined Lexi looking at it as a teenager, then as a mother, and then as a grandmother. I imagined talking to her about it.
Tracy and I both knew that not everyone would understand a photograph like this. But life is ephemeral, and all you can do is leave little pieces of you in the things you create.
I look at this portrait and I see Tracy and I see Lexi and I see a piece of me there.
"It seems like the world keeps moving around you, but there is a piece of you that stays still, in that moment in time", I wrote to her...